Latest News

17
Sep

Coal Stakeholder Meeting Assailed, MSHA Fires Back

MSHA’s stakeholder meetings with coal operators on its respirable coal dust rule reportedly are neither collaborative nor all-inclusive.  They also do not include the trade press.

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16
Sep

Big MSHA Fines Upheld against Coal Operator in Fatal Accident

A judge has upheld three $52,500 fines against a Kentucky surface coal operator after a vehicular accident that left the driver dead.

Rhett Mosley, 32, was operating a 1988 tandem lube truck that when out of control on a steep downhill grade at Rex Coal Co., Inc.’s Rex Strip #1 in Harlan County in November 2010.  Mosley was thrown from the vehicle or jumped and was found pinned beneath the service bed area of the vehicle.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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16
Sep

Judge Dismisses Aggregate Producer’s EAJA Claim

A judge has rejected a claim for legal fees brought by a Texas quarry operator after MSHA decided to vacate seven citations.

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16
Sep

2 Coal Miners Die over 12-Hour Period in Utah and Alabama

Two coal miners have died in accidents over the span of about 12 hours in Alabama and Utah.

Alejandro Ramirez, 46, was killed at approximately 1:39 a.m. this morning at West Ridge Resources, Inc.’s West Ridge underground mine in Carbon County, Utah.  According to MSHA, Ramirez, who resided in Price, was found inside the cab of a mobile diesel can-setter and apparently had received crushing injuries.  There were no witnesses to the accident.  Ramirez had worked for the company for six years.

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15
Sep

MSHA to Extend Comment Period on Civil Penalty Rule Changes

MSHA will announce in Tuesday’s Federal Register its intent to extend for 60 days the comment period on proposed changes to its civil penalty rule.  Read more »

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12
Sep

Judge Lowers MSHA Penalty against Operator, Vacates Fine against Agent

A judge agreed with MSHA that a damaged electrical junction box at an Iowa aggregate mine could result in serious injury, but said the operator was not guilty of high negligence for not replacing it nor was its production manager liable as a corporate agent.

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11
Sep

Lack of Safe Work Procedure Led to Double Fatality, MSHA Says

MSHA has faulted the operator of a Missouri underground limestone mine for failing to assure that two miners who died in a scaling accident were working where they would not be exposed to falling material.

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10
Sep

Former Foreman Sues Murray Energy for Wrongful Discharge

A former Murray Energy Corp. prep plant foreman has sued the company, alleging she was fired for refusing to make requested political contributions to pro-coal candidates favored by CEO Bob Murray. 

In the lawsuit filed Sept. 4 in Monongelia County Circuit Court in West Virginia, Jean F. Cochenour also alleges sex discrimination.  She was the company’s lone female prep plant foreman, according to the lawsuit.

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10
Sep

Operator Disputes Conclusions in MSHA's Fatality Investigation Report

The operator of a Nevada underground gold mine has taken issue with MSHA's conclusions that the root causes of a fatal accident April 28 were because management had failed to provide procedures to assure the victim had secure footing and a clean and orderly workplace.  MSHA also charged the operator with aggravated conduct for allowing the miner to work alone.

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9
Sep

Iowa Limestone Producer Cited in Contractor’s Death

Citing design flaws on an elevated platform, MSHA has issued three violations to an Iowa underground limestone producer in the death of a contract worker.

Courtney Johnston, 27, died Feb. 28, the day after he suffered head trauma in a fall from an elevated work platform at Martin Marietta Materials’ Ames Mine in Iowa.  The victim was a service technician employed by Minnesota-based Interstate Power Systems, Inc.  At the time of the accident, Johnston was standing on a platform approximately 65 inches above the ground completing repair work on a scaler.

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9
Sep

MSHA Cites Contractor in Louisiana Mine Fatality

A contract miner with 23 years of experience as a dozer operator inexplicably lost control of his machine, was thrown from it and killed.

The accident last April 24 claimed the life of James Gibson III, 50.  He was employed by Craig Neal & Sons, LLC to move material in the pit at Big River Industries’ Gravelite Division surface fire clay mine in Louisiana.

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9
Sep

MSHA Loses Jurisdictional Case

A judge has dismissed a violation involving a tractor for lack of jurisdiction because the vehicle was parked along an access road in a dual-use storage area and was not used in mining.

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8
Sep

Settlements Totaling $420,336 Reached in Mine Fatality Cases

Settlements amounting to $420,336 have been reached in five civil penalty proceedings involving mine fatalities that were brought before  Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission judges.

Mechanic James D. Winegeart, 58, was killed in April 2013 at Harrison Gypsum, LLC’s 14-person ACG Materials-Shamrock surface gypsum mine in Texas. 

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3
Sep

Miner’s Dispute with MSHA over Discrimination Claim Appears Headed to Higher Court

It looks like a dispute between MSHA and a miner pursuing a discrimination claim may well go to a new level following the agency’s latest refusal to honor a subpoena the miner filed for access to key documents.

After MSHA’s Aug. 27 refusal to honor a subpoena issued by Marshall J. Justice, Administrative Law Judge David Barbour issued a request two days later for the General Counsel of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission to enforce Justice’s subpoena in U.S. District Court. 

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3
Sep

Man Charged with Break-In at MSHA Field Office

A Kentucky man has been charged with burglarizing MSHA’s District 7 Harlan field office.

Scotty Napier, 25, was arrested after police obtained a search warrant and arrested Napier at his home several hours after the Sunday night burglary, WYMT.TV reported. 

Napier is charged with breaking into the MSHA office and stealing credit cards, gas cards and mining equipment.  Harlan Police Chief Mike Thomas told reporters Napier tried selling some of the mining equipment in the parking lot of a grocery store next to the MSHA facility.

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1
Sep

Judge Shows No Tolerance for Co-Owner’s Reckless Conduct

Some accidents involve such apparently egregious disregard for miners’ safety that it produces judicial indignation.  An accident in June 2011 is one such instance.

Ronald Buckler was permanently disabled when a heavy steel pry rod kicked back at him as he was using it to dislodge rocks jammed inside the feeder port to a crusher’s impeller unit.  Besides suffering severe lacerations to the neck, his spine was fractured, causing permanent paralysis. 

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1
Sep

MSHA’s Best Practices Suggest Circumstances of Miner’s Death

The best practices contained in MSHA’s fatalgram on the Aug. 20 death of a Virginia coal miner suggest the circumstances that may have led to this accident.

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29
Aug

Judge Upholds MSHA’s Respirable Dust Sampling Guidance

Procedures in an MSHA handbook for setting a quartz-based respirable dust standard at a mine are interpretive rules that do not require notice-and-comment rulemaking and are reasonable, a judge has ruled.

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28
Aug

Texas Mine Hit Hard in July Impact Inspection

A Texas metal producer received significantly more citations than of any of the 15 Coal and three Metal/Non-Metal (M/NM) mines MSHA targeted during impact inspections in July.

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28
Aug

Blast Damages Homes in California

Two homes were damaged Aug. 21 following a blast at an aggregate mine in California.

The incident at Superior Ready Mix Concrete, L.P.’s Mission Gorge sand and gravel plant in San Diego knocked a bowling ball-sized hole in the side of a garage of one home and broke a window in a second dwelling.   According to an accident report on MSHA’s database for the mine, “clay material” was released in the blast.

“It appears that a clay seam occurred in the rock to be blasted. The clay seam went undetected,” the report said.  No one was hurt.

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IN THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF SHARPE'S POINT: ON MINE SAFETY

While Needed, Changes in U.S. Mine Safety Unlikely Soon
Industry ‘Stuck’ in Neutral

MSHA Impedes Miner’s Discrimination Claim
Agency Won’t Release Documents

Legal Briefs
Noteworthy Settlements

Photos of 2014 U.S. Mine Victims
Faces behind the Fatalities

Analysis: Independent Role forJudges Should Be Preserved
MSHA Seeks to Change System

Giggles
Judges Say (Write) the Darndest Things

No Ruling Yet from MSHA on Fatality
West Virginia Rules It Chargeable

Farewell Message: It’s a Wrap, Folks!
Parting Thoughts

Reach of Busy Simtars Group Extends Globally
Serious about Mine Safety in Australia

Syndicate content

Coming Events

Oct. 6-8, Natcher Conference Center on NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD

Oct. 22, PERA Building Training Room, Santa Fe, NM

Oct. 24, ENMU Union Building, Roswell, NM

Poll

How much of the $1 million MSHA has available in Brookwood-Sago grants will go to the UMWA's training center?
Up to $250,000
14%
$250,001-$500,000
14%
$500,001-$750,000
29%
over $750,001
43%
Total votes: 7

Current Regulatory Agenda

Proposed (P) Final (F)
(DFR) Direct Final Rule

MSHA
(F) Prox Detect Devices: CMMs Jun '14
(P) Fees for Product Testing Aug. '14
(
P) Civil Penalties Issued Aug '14
(P) Prox Detect Devices UG Sep. '14

OSHA
(F) Update NAICS Issued Sep '14
(F) Confined Space Construction Aug '14
(F) Slips, Trips, Falls Oct '14
(F) Improve Injury Tracking Mar '15
(
P) Employers' Rptg. Obligation Aug '14
(P) Beryllium Jul '14
(P, DFR) Eye, Face Protection Sep. '14

Fatalities

          2014

  • Coal 11
  • Aggregates 9
  • Other M/NM 9

Total 29

         2013

  • Coal 20
  • Aggregates 12
  • Other M/NM 9

Total 41

         2012

  • Coal 20
  • Aggregates 10
  • Other M/NM 6

Total 36

    2011
  • Coal 21
  • Aggregates 8
  • Other M/NM 8

Total 37

 

 

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